The Ghoul Next Door (Monster High #2), by Lisi Harrison
In "The Ghoul Next Door," we return to Salem, Oregon, and to the tale of the RADs of Radcliffe Drive. As the book opens, Bekka is blackmailing Melody into helping find the green girl who kissed Brett. We, of course, know that the green girl was Frankie. And, as "Monster High" ended, Melody knows, too. Melody found Frankie and the two agreed to work together to bring Bekka down and save Jackson/D.J.
In "The Ghoul Next Door" we focus on Cleo. Cleo's father, Ramses de Nile, has returned to town bearing jewelry from the grave of Cleo's aunt Nefertiti and the business card for Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of "Vogue" magazine. Cleo convinces her father to give her the card and soon, Cleo has arranged a spread in "Teen Vogue" featuring her aunt's jewelry and not long after that, she has gotten "Teen Vogue"'s agreement to let Cleo, Clawdeen, and Blue model the jewels in the spread, using Lala as their stylist.
Meanwhile, Frankie, Melody, and Billy have come up with a plan to make it look as if the green-skinned girl from the night of the dance has disappeared for good. When Frankie discovers that Brett thought that she was Bekka, she is heartbroken. However, when Brett admits that his kiss with Frankie was the best kiss of his life, any interest Frankie ever had in D.J. disappears for good.
The plot gets more complex when Frankie, Brett, and Melody cook up a scheme where Brett will make a documentary, to be called "The Ghoul Next Door," revealing the existence of the RADs. Brett promises to blur their faces and obscure their voices and arranges to have the documentary shown on a local news station. There is a problem, however. Part of the agreement that Brett made was that the RADs will be present in the news studio the night that the report is shown, which is the same night as the "Teen Vogue" shoot. Clawdeen, Lala, and Blue want to be in the report more than they want to be in the shoot, which causes conflicts in their friendship with Cleo.
We find out what makes Cleo tick in this volume. She has an insatiable need to be loved, and so her "Queen Bee" antics are aimed at the goal of encouraging others to fill that need. When her three best friends back out of the modeling gig, Cleo vows to do whatever she has to do to stop the report from being shown, even if that means cooperating with Bekka.
Harrison uses the same mix of drama and humor in "The Ghoul Next Door" that made me enjoy "Monster High" so much. Young romance abounds and friendships are made, tested, and broken. Her amusing use of simile and metaphor is evident here, as well.
I have one minor quibble that threw me out of the book completely. Some stylistic choices by either Harrison or her editor ended up making me unclear on what, exactly, Anna Wintour's name is. The first time, Ram calls her "Winter," but Cleo corrects him. The next time, Manu calls her "Winter," as well, but Cleo does not correct him, even in her own head. Then, the third time she is referenced, her name is given correctly as "Wintour." I actually ended up with the impression that the name was spelled "Winter" but pronounced "Wintour" until I looked her up at Wikipedia.